Constitutional Court confirms Ramaphosa’s Cabinet broke the law to fund salary increases

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court today completely vindicated the DA’s longstanding opposition to the abuse of taxpayer money to fund the outrageous public sector salary increases that are bankrupting our country. The Court found that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet – led by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo – broke the law when it granted an unfunded R30.2 billion wage increase for public service employees under an illegal three-year wage deal signed in 2018. This illegal increase was over and above the R128.5 billion that had already been set aside by Parliament for salary increases in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

In its judgement, the Constitutional Court upheld an earlier Labour Court ruling that the Cabinet’s decision to funnel this additional R30.2 billion into the pockets of public servants and the thousands of ANC cadres “deployed” to capture the state violated clauses 78 and 79 of the 2016 Public Service Regulations and was therefore “invalid, unlawful and unenforceable.” In the process, the highest court in the land also upheld the Labour Court ruling that President Ramaphosa’s government violated sections 213 and 215 of the Constitution when it granted the illegal increase.

The 2016 Regulations clearly stipulate that any proposed wage increase must either be covered out of the existing budgets of government departments or be accompanied by an explicit undertaking from National Treasury that it would fund the increases. In clear violation of the law, the Court ruling confirms that, on 21 May 2018 – three months after Ramaphosa became President – “the State entered into an agreement with the relevant trade union representatives” for a salary increase that exceeded the R128.5 billion made available by Parliament for compensation of employees by an additional R30.2 billion (according to Treasury, this amount ultimately ballooned to R37.8 billion).

The State granted the increase despite failing to obtain the required approval from National Treasury. In fact, the Court confirms that on 14 February 2018, National Treasury had explicitly rejected the Cabinet’s request to fund the additional billions. The Court finds that “the effect … was that the allocated budget would be exceeded by R30.2 billion, an excess not approved at all by any Act of Parliament.”

For a full two years during 2018 and 2019, the State dutifully paid these illegal salary increases out of the pockets of South Africa’s long-suffering taxpayers. It was only in 2020, with Treasury sounding the alarm that the country was teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff, that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni finally sought to stop the implementation of the third year of the illegal agreement. As a result, the Court found that President Ramaphosa’s government “expended a huge sum of money at the expense of poor citizens, in adjusting and paying out salary increases to public servants for the period of two years under an invalid collective agreement.”

In the wake of this ruling, the DA calls on President Ramaphosa to immediately fire Minister Dlodlo, who was the Minister of Public Service and Administration that oversaw the illegal deal and who was reappointed to the same position by the President in August 2021. Prior to being reappointed, she was the Minister of State Security who failed to prevent the violent looting that last year claimed hundreds of lives and cost the country billions. If the President fails to fire Minister Dlodlo, he will only be confirming the urgent need for a majority of Members of Parliament to support the DA’s upcoming motion of no confidence in his Cabinet.

The DA will furthermore write to National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to pressure these institutions to recoup the billions illegally paid to cadres and public servants during 2018 and 2019 under the invalid deal. These billions would be much better spent on stimulating the private economy and providing social support to the 30 million citizens trapped in poverty. If Treasury and SARS are serious about restoring South Africa’s public finances and upholding equality before the law, they would pursue the beneficiaries of this illegal deal with the same vigour that they go after taxpayers in the private sector.

On the basis of the precedent created by this case, the DA has also already submitted a request to Department of Public Service and Administration in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to establish whether the State once again violated clauses 78 and 79 of the Regulations when it recently granted a further unaffordable R450 million increase to millionaire managers.

In the midst of an economic environment even more desperate than what prevailed in 2018, and with a new round of wage negotiations set to commence next month, the DA will continue to lead this fight against the ANC state and its unionist allies for a new fiscal paradigm that reduces the public sector wage bill, slashes the amount spent on millionaire managers, and instead empowers frontline public servants and the private economy.

DA urges ActionSA to reconsider its opposition to Tshwane coalition

In the interest of service delivery to the people of Tshwane, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has asked ActionSA to reconsider its decision to vote against the adjustment budget of the coalition government.

The adjustment budget is to be considered by Tshwane’s municipal council today after the vote had to be postponed from last week due to ActionSA’s conduct. Today is the statutory deadline for the approval of any adjustment to a municipality’s budget.

This is a budget that ActionSA had every opportunity to influence. Unfortunately, their members of the mayoral committee (MMCs) and councillors failed to do so.

The first time Mayor Randall Williams and the other parties in the coalition government learnt that ActionSA would oppose the adjustment budget was on Monday last week, days before it was to be tabled in the municipal council for a vote (on Thursday).

At the caucus meeting where this notice was given, ActionSA councillors made no attempt to come forward with alternative proposes. In fact, they made no effort to articulate what their grievances were about.

By this time ActionSA MMCs had several opportunities, which they failed to use, to propose changes to the adjustment budget. Several budget preparation meetings took place during February.

Mayor Williams nonetheless took steps to postpone the Council’s consideration of the adjustment budget from Thursday to today, to allow the coalition to understand and try to accommodate ActionSA’s demands.

But not all of the eleventh-hour demands made by ActionSA could be accommodated, not without rendering Tshwane’s budget unfunded and jeopardising the city’s whole service delivery programme.

The DA will make a last-ditch effort to convince ActionSA not to sabotage the coalition government by voting against the adjustment budget. We hope that sanity, and a sense of service to the people of Tshwane, will prevail.

DA to PAIA Sitole’s ‘Golden Handshake’

Please find an attached soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP

The DA has today submitted a PAIA application to obtain the details of General Kehla Sitole’s departure as national police commissioner by “mutual agreement” with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The public deserve to know the details of this golden handshake and the reasons why it was necessary.

In a damning judgement in January 2021, Gauteng High Court Judge Norman Davis found that Sitole had breached his duty as top cop regarding the procurement of the spy grabber technology prior to the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec conference. Eight months after the judgement in September 2021 the President served Sitole with a notice of intention to suspend. To date there has been no inquiry and no further action in respect of that notice.

If the President was truly acting in the best interests of the country he would have followed the very disciplinary process he initiated to suspend Sitole and ultimately terminate his contract. Aside from being the right thing to do, it would have come at no additional cost to the tax payer and would have laid bare whether Sitole did in fact fail to perform his duties.

Instead Sitole has left with a golden handshake at the tax payers’ expense because he seems to have started rattling the cages of the ANC. Sitole recently accused the former Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, of instructing him to procure the spy grabber technology prior to the ANC’s conference. Now Sitole is gone.

It is in the interests of the country to know why Sitole was given a golden handshake and what all of the details are relating to this deal. This cannot be swept under the carpet.

The DA will champion the fight for transparency on this matter so that we can rebuild the South African Police Service (SAPS) from a foundation of trust and not hidden agendas.

ANC raises champagne glasses to Russian army, at Russian embassy, as it invades Ukraine

Note to Editors: An invitation to a cocktail reception hosted by the Russian Ambassador and Russian Defence Attaché is attached here

On the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – thirteen hours after the invasion had begun, to be precise – the ANC Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, her department’s special advisor, and the Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), among others, attended a cocktail function at the Russian ambassador’s residence in Pretoria in honour of the Russian Defence Force.

The event, hosted by the Russian ambassador to South Africa, Mr Ilya Rogachev, and the Russian Defence Attaché, Colonel Dmitriy Priimachuck, was boycotted by all NATO member countries. But this did not stop Minister Thandi Modise, her Director General’s special advisor Tsepe Motumi, and the Chief of the SANDF General Rudzani Maphwanya, in full uniform, from clinking glasses and sipping champagne as they celebrated the power of an army that had just invaded its neighbour that very morning.

At a time when the world has chosen to stand united in its condemnation of Russia’s war declaration on a sovereign nation – when the staunchest Putin allies such as the Hungarian Prime Minister and the Czech President have turned against him, and when even China felt it had to abstain from a UN Security Council vote rather than support Russia – our own ANC government could not scramble fast enough to the wrong side of history.

The grotesqueness of this gesture cannot be overstated. Imagine raising a glass to the might of the German army at the German embassy on the day that Hitler invaded Poland.

To make this situation worse, this cocktail event took place only two hours after the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) had issued a statement calling for Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine – a statement which has apparently incensed the ANC and President Ramaphosa. They have since rebuked DIRCO and made attempts to patch their relationship with Russia.

So now we have a DIRCO Minister, Naledi Pandor, who seemed to sing entirely from the Russian hymn sheet in her SONA debate speech, only to have this reversed by her Department in calling for a Russian withdrawal. But this was then immediately contradicted by the attendance of her ANC colleagues at an event glorifying the Russian invasion, and a complete row-back by the Presidency on the DIRCO statement.

So what is it then? Where do the ANC government and President Ramaphosa stand on the Russian invasion of Ukraine? How can the one hand not know what the other is doing during a major global crisis? Every other world leader has somehow found it possible to state a clear position. Why have we not heard from President Ramaphosa, in absolute and unambiguous terms, where he stands?

Russia is now a global pariah state thanks to the ruthless warmongering of its despotic leader. It has run out of friends and allies, and rightly so. Except down here in South Africa, where you will still find the last lonely outpost of support for a brutal regime that has no regard for international law or the sanctity of life. The ANC could not embarrass us more on the world stage if it tried.

It is unacceptable that President Ramaphosa allows this confusion to continue, and our country’s image to be dragged through the mud. The DA calls on him to immediately address the nation – and the world, for that matter – stating his and his government’s position on the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin.



ANC slow to act against its paymaster

South Africa should join the worldwide action to isolate Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his henchmen oligarchs.

One of the top funders of the ANC in 2020 was a mining company jointly owned by a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin and the ANC front company Chancellor House.

Oligarch Victor Vekselberg owns 49% of South Africa’s 4th largest manganese miner, United Manganese of Kalahari. The rest of the mining operation has ownership that includes Chancellor House and an ANC-linked community group.

In the first quarter of 2020/21, the mine donated R7.5 million to the ANC, becoming the largest single donor during that quarter.

This suggests two things:

  • That the ANC is reluctant to act against Russia because in doing so, it would be acting against its own paymaster.
  • That the government should freeze Vekselberg’s assets in South Africa as a way of putting pressure on the Putin regime to withdraw from Ukraine.

The DA is usually reluctant to interfere in any private mining operation, but such is the existential threat to the rules-based international order posed by Putin’s colonial invasion of Ukraine that  this amounts to exceptional circumstances.

In soft-pedalling its response to the Russian aggression, the ANC is once again showing its own paydays are far more important to it than the long term good of South Africa’s people, and the sovereignty of nations.

Tourism Department blows R13 million in incorrect payments for tourist guides

Please see attached soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

In response to DA parliamentary questions, the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, revealed that the Department of Tourism incorrectly paid out more than R13 million via its Tourism Relief Fund and the Relief Fund for Tourist Guides.

There appears to have been major deficiencies and a lack of controls in the issuing of funds to beneficiaries of both funds during the hard lockdown period. Payments were made from these funds without proper checks to ensure that funds were paid to only qualifying beneficiaries.

Further parliamentary replies indicate that one Tourism Relief Fund beneficiary and 26 Relief Fund for Tourist Guides beneficiaries were paid twice.

Of the Relief Fund for Tourist Guides, 17 deceased beneficiaries were paid R4 500 each. In addition, the following incorrect payments were made from the same fund, namely:

  • 273 payments were made to social grant beneficiaries
  • 1350 payments were made to Unemployment Insurance Fund beneficiaries
  • 58 payments were made to persons in the employ of the State
  • 1172 payments were made to persons with invalid or incorrect identity numbers

It is shocking that the Tourism Department was not able to confirm a simple identity number or whether a person was alive or not during the application and payment process. Considering that there are hundreds of tour guides that suffered and continue to suffer incredible economic hardships, it is unacceptable that this was allowed to happen by the department.

This is yet another example of millions of rands lost thanks to ill-qualified ANC-cadre deployees who administer taxpayers’ money.

Minister Sisulu’s replies indicate that her department will investigate this matter and conclude the investigation by April this year. The DA will be carefully monitoring this matter to firstly ensure that the money is returned and secondly that the guilty parties are bought to book.

Minister Mthethwa must provide an update on wellness tender to a marketing firm

The DA calls for the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to confirm whether his department is contracting the services of Indingliz Advertising and Marketing for wellness services.

The advertising and marketing firm was awarded a wellness tender by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture to provide “a comprehensive wellness intervention programme for the South African culture and creative practitioners”.

The tender, which was valued at a staggering R14.9 million, was awarded to Indingliz in 2020. The company denied that it had signed a contract with the department in 2020 however there has been no official word from the department itself whether the programme has been instituted or whether money had been paid to the advertising firm.

There is currently no evidence to support the company’s activities during this period and whether they have made any inroads in providing wellness services to artists.

The reality is that the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture had no business entrusting the provision of wellness services to a corporation with no prior experience in the field.

The arts and culture sector has been severely impacted by Covid-19. It has heightened the challenges faced by artists on a daily basis, all of which have had a significant impact on their mental health. While a service devoted to the well-being of artists is plausible, their provision should never have been entrusted to a company with no prior experience in matters pertaining to mental wellness.

This is not only a waste of taxpayer’s money, but it is also a slap in the face of artists who could have used the wellness offering to help them overcome mental health issues exacerbated by Covid-19.

We must speak out against injustice – whether it’s against the LGBTQI community or a sovereign nation

The following speech was delivered by DA Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen, at the Gay Pride in Cape Town today. A soundbite is attached here.

Good afternoon, Cape Town.

What a beautiful day this is in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. And aren’t we blessed to be here today at Gay Pride, in support and celebration of the LGBTQI community.

To be able to proudly walk though Cape Town’s streets – free to be whomever we want to be, to love whomever we want to love. I’m certainly proud to be an ally of this community.

Every freedom won and every advancement of human rights is a victory for all of us.

It seems unreal that, only a couple of decades back, none of this would have been possible. Just 28 years ago being gay was still considered a crime in South Africa.

One and a half decades ago same-sex marriage was still not legal. We have come far, and the world is undoubtedly a much better place for it.

But still this is not enough. Because as long as people are persecuted, threatened or harmed for simply being who they are, this fight continues.

While today’s colourful celebration feels so natural and so right, there are many parts of our country where this simply could not happen. Even with our liberal constitution and inclusive laws, there are still parts of South Africa where a Gay Pride parade would be a very dangerous idea.

In fact, there are parts of this beautiful city where just being yourself out in the open puts a target on your back.

Just last year, in a two-month reign of terror, at least six young people were killed here in Cape Town for being gay. And those are six that we know of – the real number could be far higher.

We must say their names so that no one can ever forget them.

  •  Nathaniel Mbele.
  •  Andile Ntuthela.
  •  Lonwabo Jack.
  • Sphamandla Khoza.
  •  Lulama Mvandaba.
  •  Anele Bhengu.

These were the victims of the most brutal and evil hate crime, and the fact that this can still happen today, here in this modern and liberal city, should be a wake-up call to all of us.

So while we share this wonderful day with the Mother City’s LGBTQI community, and celebrate how far we have come as a society, let us also use today to speak up for people who don’t yet have these freedoms.

Wherever we have a public platform – wherever we can raise our voices and speak out against oppression, homophobia and bigotry – we must do so. It is our moral duty. 

We most certainly must not, as Deputy President David Mabuza famously remarked a few years ago “be decent and keep our mouths shut” when it comes to the ongoing persecution and repressive laws of other African nations.

Over 30 countries on this continent still have some form of anti-gay legislation. In many places being openly gay can still – and does – get you killed.

We cannot simply shrug and say: Who are we to interfere in their laws and their way of life? Because that’s cowardly, and it is a tacit endorsement of their bigotry.

If we see human rights trampled and vulnerable communities threatened, we have to say something. How can we claim to embrace the spirit of Ubuntu if we turn a blind eye to the suffering of others?

South Africa still has a strong voice on this continent, and on the global stage. We must use it for good.

If ever there was a country that could use an ally and an advocate for human rights right now, it is Ukraine.

Russia’s brazen invasion of a sovereign, democratic nation must be condemned by all who love freedom. There can be no justification for this aggression, and our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine as they face an uncertain and terrifying future.

The country’s LGBTQI community, in particular, must surely now live in fear given Russia’s awful human rights track record.

South Africa has a voice, and it still carries weight. As BRICS member, we have a platform to speak out strongly against Russian aggression. President Ramaphosa cannot hide behind his party’s ideological allegiance with Russia any longer. He has a duty to take a stand and speak out.

Yesterday I called for an urgent debate in Parliament on the unfolding situation in Ukraine. Our government’s preferred tactic of quiet diplomacy is not good enough. Ukraine needs global allies, and Russia needs universal condemnation.

It’s not that hard to do the right thing. Whether you’re the president of a country or just a regular member of a community, you will know injustice when you see it. And when you do, you cannot remain silent.

When others are at their most vulnerable, you need to be strong. Because vulnerable people need allies.

So let us enjoy this wonderful day. Let us have fun here, because this is first and foremost a celebration of our freedoms and our bright and colourful diversity.

But let us also use this opportunity to put the plight of others, who are not as fortunate as we are, on the world stage.

This fight and these freedoms are not won until everyone is free.

Thank you.




DA welcomes departure of Sitole, now Cele must go to save SAPS

Please find attached a soundbite by Andrew Whitfield MP.

The DA welcomes the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to terminate the employment of National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole.

Recently the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a High Court judgment dismissing Sitole’s appeal that he and two other members of top police management had breached their duties”. 

Clearly it was time for Sithole to go, however, the details of this dismissal is scant and the public deserves to know whether a golden handshake was given. 

While the Sithole’s removal is welcomed, Police Minister Bheki Cele must follow suit if the President is serious about starting the hard work of rebuilding trust and credibility in the SAPS. 

The tit-for-tat political spat between General Sithole and Minister Cele has rendered the SAPS ungovernable. A complete overhaul at the very top is necessary to undo the damage caused by both men. 

DA calls for urgent parliamentary debate on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to request that she schedule a debate of urgent national public importance on the unfolding crisis surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This Russian aggression is a violation of international law and should be strongly condemned by freedom-loving people across the globe. Many national leaders have added their voices to the growing chorus of outrage and condemnation, but our own President Cyril Ramaphosa has been ominously silent on the issue.

The belated statement by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) yesterday afternoon did not go far enough in condemning this act of aggression by the Russian Federation. President Ramaphosa has also not used the voice he has as a member of BRICS to speak out strongly against Russia and President Putin.

As a signatory to the United Nations Charter, we have a duty “[to] maintain international peace and security….[though] the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace”. Government’s actions and President Ramaphosa’s voice have been entirely insufficient to date.

The National Assembly, in terms of section 92(2) of the Constitution, has a duty to hold the president and cabinet accountable for this failure of leadership. This is a matter for which Government can, and should, be held responsible, and which can urgently be addressed in parliament.

If the Executive branch of government finds it difficult to stand up to its dubious global allies, then the Legislative branch should guide its hand.